The lifestyles that most Americans are choosing are the equivalent of slowly committing suicide as a person and maybe as a nation. For example, our general habits of a combination of minimal exercise and eating huge quantities of unhealthy foods are the bases of our physical problems. We have become a nation known for being too overweight, physically weak and unhealthy. Most of us do not take major responsibility for our health. How many times have you heard people say that nobody is going to tell them what to eat? How many times have you heard people say that they don’t have time to get exercise? How many times have you heard people say that they will do any damn thing they want with their life because if something goes wrong, their doctor will fix it…probably with a tiny little pill? It better be a little pill because it is probably too much effort for them to swallow a big one.
Why do we neglect our very existence when we have scientific evidence that, if followed, can help lead us to a longer and healthier life? We are back to lifestyle. Most of us have a job or jobs, sleep, eat and have other daily “chores” that we need to do to manage our lives. That leaves some discretionary time (time that we can use to do what we want). How do we use that discretionary time? My observation is that most of us use this “free” time almost exclusively to entertain ourselves. We use our precious time being amused by many different kinds of television shows, sporting events, movies, novels, celebrity magazines, music, and other types of entertainment that are meant to get and keep our attention. We have many electronic devices and social media that keep us texting and talking to the exclusion of face-to-face conversation. Everywhere I go where there is a group of people many or most of them are looking down at some phone, pad or tablet. All these ways of using our time for entertainment has been designed by very smart people who work for companies that ultimately want to make money. They don’t care if the entertainment is enlightening or misinforming as long as they can sell something. Most don’t care if the entertainment is teaching positive values or negative ones. As long as we do not question our habits of using our discretionary time only for our entertainment, we lose the opportunity to discover the ways we can change our nutrition and exercise habits to those that can increase the quality of our health. We also lose the opportunity to learn how to become financially secure and how to think critically and make important life decisions. How many of us are committing financial suicide because we have never taken the time to find out the habits of people who are wealthy? Are we entertaining ourselves to death?
I understand that there are not many of us readers anymore. A very small percentage of us buy the vast majority of books (paper and electronic). Of course we can also get all kinds of books and other information materials at the library and on the internet. However, the vast majority of that reading material is for entertainment and escape. Only a very small percentage of reading material deal directly with important areas of our lives such as our physical and mental health, our financial security, our behavior toward others and the environment, or the skills we can use to improve our thinking and decision-making. For example, looking at how our governments are being run makes it obvious that most of those who are supposed to be leaders have little or no knowledge of critical thinking or problem solving strategies. These “leaders” should make some time to learn some of these strategies they could apply before their ineptitude results in some form of national suicide.
As a lifelong participating in and observer of education at all levels Kindergarten-Doctorate, I can guarantee you that the schools have not systematically taught or modeled skills and knowledge to gain and maintain physical and mental health. There is very little to no systematic training that would lead to financial security. Even discussions of human interactions and environmental concerns are usually seen as too controversial to be part of a general curriculum. Nearly all of the material that is and will be presented on this website was not learned in my formal education. I learned these ideas and skills by deliberately using my discretionary time to learn about, try out, practice, modify, record and evaluate them. I have tested them on myself and have seen them work for others. To further test the ideas that worked for me, I taught a graduate class at my university called, Personal and Professional Survival/Success Strategies even though I had to teach it as an unpaid overload. I wanted to test how others would respond to the ideas. I had more satisfaction teaching and more acclaim by far for this course than for any other course I taught in my professional career. That was a major reason I chose to leave a very good university position to pursue the further study and dissemination of these practical, basic life skills.
So the point of all of this is that we seem to be pretty much on our own. But avoiding personal and national suicide should get our attention. Because you are reading this, you are not one of the vast majorities of people who see discretionary time as being only for entertainment. You can be one of a small minority that takes responsibility for all aspects of your life. Why not make at least some of your “entertainment” finding ideas, skills and practices to gain more control of your life and be more self-reliant? I have found that my best “entertainment” is studying this practical stuff. It is not only fascinating, it has helped me be healthier, wealthier, and a better person/citizen in a lot of measurable ways.
Let me challenge you to take a small step and deliberately research a question you find interesting and relevant to your life. Maybe one of the concepts mentioned on this website. I suggest that you start with something in the area of physical health, mental health or financial security. When you get an idea that intrigues you, personally try it out. If it works, make it a habit.
Time cannot be bought or repeated. Time is finite. It is too precious to waste. It is too precious to blindly follow what everybody is doing just to be like everybody else. What you do with your time is what you do with your life. Your life is too precious to waste on the trivial.